Monthly Archives: August 2011

Name something you’d like a lifetime supply of.

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There are very few things that I am attached to. I do not have a favorite television show that I commit myself to watching. I don’t have a favorite hairstyle that has become who I am. I don’t even have a favorite movie that I love watching incessantly. I don’t even have a favorite celebrity that I just love and would love to meet.

But, I do have a huge thing for dresses. I love dresses. If I could have a lifetime supply of anything it would be dresses. Classic dresses, casual, fun, spring, fall, evening, sexy, formal, flowy, short, sexy, international all types of dresses. Not only are dresses the easiest form of clothing known to women, but they offer such a huge variety of fashion flair! Once you get your dress all that’s left is a great pair of heels, awesome accessories and a splash of matching makeup. The perfect hairstyle will really complete your look. So that is my not-so-secret-secret. Most people who know me recognize my insane addiction to dresses.

The Inevitable Evil: Dekalb Middle School’s Dilemma

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As you may already know by now, I am a proud product of Dekalb County Schools. From private, public, M2M and otherwise, I’ve done it all in Dekalb County. When coming in parenthood, I had a plethra of elementary schools to choose from. There are some really good, strong, supportive and academically challenging elementary schools that are a perfect fit for a parent like me. I found a great elementary school for my daughter that met the above criteria and she started in pre-K. Yet, ever since pre-K I have been thinking about the inevitable…… middle school.

See, everyone who knows Dekalb County, I mean REALLY knows Dekalb County, knows that Dekalb is seriously lacking when it comes to the quality of middle school education. This is especially true when scouring the South Dekalb communities. We’ve all heard the stories about these ‘crazed, violent, disrespectful, oversexed, profanity using kids’. But the truth is, they exist everywhere. So what makes these middle schools on the south Dekalb end so different? For me its simple: standards. Walk down any hall of a Dekalb County Elementary school on the south end and you will see teacher, parents and administrators holding these children to the highest standards. When you ask a 3rd grader what school they go to, they will proudly recite: I attend, Claudias THedios School of Fine Arts and Academics and whatnot. Key word: proud.

Yet, it seems as though by the time they get to middle school those standard and sense of pride is no longer existant. Whatever the reason may be for this radical shift, trying to figure out what school to send your child to can be quite a dilemma. My advice for this, as it is for many situations that will inevitably come up for a parent, is to plan. My favorite resource for schools is great schools.org bond with that site for these next coming years and see what kind of reviews the middle schools in your area are receiving. Take a visit to these schools and see if they have any special academic programs that may make this a smooth transition for your rising middle schooler.

For me, moving out of Dekalb to a surrounding county is a non-option. I am ball and chain anchored to Dekalb County. However, there are other areas in Dekalb County that we were willing to consider moving to in order to ensure the best possible middle school for my daughter. I encourage you to be extremely proactive in trying to combat Dekalb’s Middle School Dilemma.

If you could go back in time and relive one day of your life, which would you choose?

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Man, the day I got pregnant with my daughter!
While I love my kid with all my heart, I was bamboozled into getting pregnant.

I would go back and kick her daddy’s ass. Literally, I would fight him. That would be the one day that I would , the day I allowed another person to affect me entire LIFE.
Does that mean I dont care about my daughter? No way, I love her to death. But if I had have had my thinking cap on, she wouldn’t be here. So I would go back and make that day into something totally different 🙂

Name someone who has significantly influenced the way you see the world.

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I don’t even know his name. I think its Timothy. Its the guy who wrote 4 hour work week. He really opened my eyes to the simply fact that the world is an open playing field of money to be made. I can live the life that I want by creating a way for me to make money on “auto-pilot”. He really introduced me to the word ‘auto-pilot” where income is concern.  Timothy Ferris I believe.  Even though I am no closer to achieving the things that he’s described in his book, good job Tim buddy. You are my person of the year.

Now What?

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So now that my first project is over, the question that is looming in the shadows is now what. Early this morning, I asked Ricky if that was what he wanted to know. He said kinda. He asked me if I have thought about returning to school.

Quite honestly, at the end of my road, I would like to pop up with a PhD. Lol, yea I know ‘pop-up’ isn’t the best adjective to use when talking about the fight that it takes to get a PhD. But yea, I know I need to return to school in order to complete that task. However, at this point in my life, the idea of going back to college makes me make that “Eh’ face. You know the “Eh” face. The one where you want to throw your hands up in the air and make that Robert DeNiro twisted lip facial response. School is hard when you have a family and you’ve been out for some time. My alma mater scarred me for life. I mean I know I’d be able to do it and chances are I could pull in some A’s. I would just have to work for my grades! O, the agony.

However, it is no coincidence (Im sure) that a psychic I spoke to a few days ago mentioned the same thing. Yes, I kick it with psychics. Ever since I have started my business I feel less confident and in less control over some of my decisions and the outcome I can expect. This reading was my 3rd reading and I wanted to know…. Now What??? She talked to me about going back to school and I think its a great idea. Only like I said, it makes me want to say “Eh” and Im not really sure what degree to work on next.

Ideally, Id like to go back and do a Masters in Education Policy and a Phd in Reading, Language and Literacy. However, I would ideally like to go to Harvard to get my Masters in Ed. Policy. That’s probaly why I love the movie “Legally Blonde”. The way she just matter-of-factly sets her sights on Harvard.  Me and my ideals right? Only, I fully believe that it can be done. I could go to Harvard if I was willing to move to MA. Now THAT is what is highly unlikely at this point.  Living in Boston, MA would take me out. Literally. I have to build up mentally to be able to live in the cold. And that cold is NO joke.

So the question remains, now what. Ive always had the 5 year plan thing mapped out and I haven’t deferred from that. Im 27, have a little money in the bank, my kids are healthy, Ive got a man I love and care about, I live in a nice home and Ive had good business success in my first venture and learned alot. But have you ever gotten the feeling that you should be doing more?? Yeesh. Just give me some time to map thinks out mentally.

Now what?

Summer Business Success Story

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So this is my official beginning for marking my new path on the way to becoming a millionaire. I wonder to myself, once I hit millionaire status…. then what? What do I do next after I’ve “arrived”, “made it”? I think the only logical answer would be to try and make dos millions. Duh. Lol.

So this year, after a month of hardcore marketing, I started my first business: an all girls summer camp. This camp, Camp Butterfly Bella, was my baby. I loved, nurtured and cared for that camp and all of the girls in it, with all my heart. The idea for the camp came years ago, when my own daughter was about 5 years old and I was still in attendance at an all women’s college. I thought, if single gendered education is this great, I should make an all girls summer program. However, being 22, broke, a single parent and in school still living with my dad, I had to come to terms with reality. It was going to happen at that time.

Five years later, I made it happen! And o, how beautiful! The camp’s website, butterflybella.org, totally created by me. The website was the first thing I created! It took me 6 hours to do it and afterwards I felt totally exhausted. I never knew that working on the internet at a computer, sitting in a chair could totally simulate the feeling associated with ‘real work’. It was not an easy task the first time around and at the end of the battle my brain hurt. But I had completed a fully interactive, beautiful website. And I had feedback about the website to prove it, once I post the link on my facebook page, folks started checking it out. I had hits and traffic on google analytics! I was so proud.

Then came step number two, marketing in my community. I ordered signs off the internet after talking to a mentor-friend of mine whose husband suggested it would be a great idea for getting calls. The signs took forever to come and in the meantime I did the worst thing I could do, ordered flyers and business cards from a company run by young unprofessionals. The company, named Sidewalk Promo Store, had been advertising a great deal on flyers and business cards, like $180 for both! So I jumped on it. They were horrible, rude, unprofessional and didn’t deliver in the 48hr period. As a matter of fact, they didn’t deliver AT ALL. I ordered this in March and it is August and I have yet to see the flyers. There was another company where I ordered shirts from Lil Citi in Riverdale, never got my money refunded when they failed to deliver either. O well, early lesson learned.

I did receive my yard signs and that took a while, but it finally came. The next few days I took the kids with me as we jumped out on the side of the road at car stops and put signs at strategic areas in the community. The calls started rolling in immediately.

Next, I finally got flyers and business cards from Miami Flyers, their flyers came out wrong too, but at least I had SOMETHING to pass out. So I did. I passed flyers out everywhere. I went to the events page for Atlanta and looked at different happenings ie: festivals, picnics, parties, events, jams, etc and I took my children and my boyfriend and we passed out flyers like our life depended on it.

I remember the first day I went to my paypal account and I saw $200 for a camp payment. I was beyond ecstatic. I couldn’t believe I had used a concept, created a website, started a business and I had actually earned someone’s business. AMAZING! Now all I had to do was secure a facility. That part was unreal. I couldn’t imagine how it was possible for me to secure payments from parents when they had never seen the location of my program! I believe that the website was just THAT good. They saw the vision of my website and wanted their daughters to be a part of it. The feeling and knowledge that I gained early on was so immense. I had tapped into the theory behind successful business on the internet.

What made my program skyrocket in number was not the flyers, yard signs or t-shirts. What brought in the traffic- the real numbers that I needed was very simple…… word of mouth. I had a parent that brought in about 8 girls from ONE school. Most of my campers brought at least one friend. Sibling groups were automatic enrollment increase so I offered a great sibling discount. But word of mouth was definitely the most powerful tool. That tool can only be achieved by making sure the word gets to the right people. So all of my marketing efforts proved effective in that regard (the parent who brought in the 8 saw a yard sign).

I hired about 7 girls initially, even though I only needed 3. I only recruited from Spelman and Agnes Scott and believed that these women would be best equipped to work in an all girls environment. Before we even started, 3 had dropped out. One didn’t call to say she wouldn’t be able to accept. That particular young lady had made the mistake of requesting me on her facebook page and a month later I saw on her posts that she had accepted a job somewhere else! Too bad though, because when camp was almost over she was fired. It was then that she sent an email asking to volunteer at the camp, smh. The other 2 students let me know upfront, which I appreciated. The one Agnes Scott student that I had left really disappointed me. Not only did she get into a full blown shouting match with me at a field trip, but she left my wallet, parent payments, camp phone and ID on a field trip and then tried to blame it on a 9yr old camper. Yea, she had to go. Lol.

So I ended up with 3. I had one AMAZING counselor. I wish that all of them were like her. She was the biggest blessing in the entire camp. If I had bonuses, she would receive all of them. This counselor was assertive and did her job without me having to tell her what to do every moment. For a new entrepreneur or old entrepreneur, these employees are the best.

So although I had a few hiccups in the camp, I had a really great summer. Some of the hiccups being: the van broke down on the highway after a field trip. Now that was just embarassing. Me having to let my assistant go because she had gotten tooooooo comfortable and wasn’t doing what I needed. Complaints from our neighbors on the property. Me having to send a child home for cursing. 2 parents withdrawing 2 campers because we didn’t stay open late enough (how can they miss that, its on the website?). Counselors not cleaning up after their campers areas or holding the campers accountable.Really, the issues that I dealt with were extremely minimal and didn’t equate to major issues within the camp.

Needless to say, I would give the summer a 96%. We did everything at our camp! Not only did we do arts and crafts, we did yoga, zumba, crochet class, academics, line dancing, step class, cooking and awesome field trips. I mean the summer was really overall… great. I really wish there was a way for me to turn that income into a year round source, but I am just happy have the opportunity to experience what I enjoy in the form of ‘working’. Because clearly, going to Chamberlain’s Chocolate Factory, White Water, World of Coca-Cola, Stone Mountain Park and the Center for Puppetry Arts does NOT feel ANYTHING like work!

The last few weeks of camp however, I had begun to explore another idea that Ive had lodged for a while and I am in pursuit of exploring it. It comes in the form of humansigns.biz an advertising company for business owners. I believe that too will be a lucrative opportunity as long as I can put the same energy into marketing it.

I also have another few ideas in the mix. After a dangerous and life threatening incident happened at my center this week I have decided to close the center. However, I am still on my mission to hit millionaire status. In true rap fashion, I have taken on the motto: Get Rich or Die Trying. Why Not???

So I am on a major mission to find my next successful avenue to get back on the path to money making status. There are so many people out here making millions- hell BILLIONS of dollars tapping into to all kinds of markets. I just want to get on millionaire auto-pilot. I dont JUST want to make money, I want to make the money on auto-pilot in order to achieve the lifestyle I will have. My vision is simple. My desire is straightforward. My goal is to make it happen. Im 27, almost 28 years old and I will only live once.